Cooking Techniques

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Grilling indeed is a gastronomic activity that wakes up the senses.  How?  You may ask.  For one, it is a big deal for grillers and sometimes their consumers to see grill marks on the food that they eat.  It’s like requesting that patties or pork chops wear stripes when served.  If the food retains its juices, it also has a sumptuous aroma which gives the consumer a mouth-watering desire for the product.

Never mind that the patron is on a diet.  When it comes to taste, nothing beats dipping one’s teeth into a creation that has been perfected over cooking grates.  Even while cooking, the cook or the consumer hears that sizzle that promises of an appetizing meal.

So how does an avid griller, gourmet chef, average cook or a mere food fanatic achieve recipes to die for?  There are simple thoughts that should be borne in mind when grilling.  One is to know the difference between direct and indirect heat.

Knowing the source of heat is knowing how to give food its natural flavor and added texture.  When grilling, the source of heat is directly applied to the meat or the food.  However, food can look charred on the outside but is actually raw inside.  This happens particularly in thick slices of meat.  To let indirect heat cook the inside, a lid may help make the grill function more like an oven; indirect heat is utilized to cook the inner part of the meat.

meat on a grill

When using charcoal for grilling, lighting it with lighter fluid could add a different smell and flavor to food.  For the most sensitive nostrils, it would be like eating food that has been drenched in gasoline.  You wouldn’t want your family or friends get turned off by the smell of gasoline on their food.  New neighbors might think that you are trying to poison them.

An alternative to lighter fluid that also makes it easy to start a fire is a chimney starter.  It takes about 20 minutes to make a glowing coal that you can use to cook food over.  You can use those minutes, perhaps to add more marinating time for the raw meat.

If using a gas grill, it’s synonymous to using an oven.  You have to let the grill reach a specific temperature to be able to start grilling.  That’s why most, if not all, gas grills have built-in thermometers to tell you when it’s time to grill.  There is also a practical purpose to heating the grill before you start cooking

it softens any leftover food or dripping that has hardened on the cooking grate.  Once you are ready to cook, brush the grates with some oil to improve its stick-resistance.  It also adds flavor to the food.

Another option when grilling food is to use a fire pit or wood grill.  Firstly, it adds to the rustic ambiance especially when you are cooking food outdoors and spring has started to show off its colors.  Letting the fire burn and transform itself to wood fuel gives you enough time to do some last-minute food preparations.

It somehow adds to a laid-back and homey ambiance, even just for a day.  In this manner, placing one side with the coals while cooking on the other end allows you to control heat while cooking.  This also minimizes flare-ups.

Wood grills can also function as smokers.  This is equivalent to slow cookers where low heat is needed.  In addition, smoking adds a distinct flavor to meat.  The smoke that comes from the wood is responsible for this additional flavor.  But when cooking indoors, cast-iron grill plates may be used.  Cooking takes less time and more time is made for chatting with friends and family.